JUST SOME BASIC INFO

Casey K

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Nov 12, 2013
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I have been in the tarantula hobby for going on 11 years now. I've been selling/buying and breeding for the last 5 years. I enjoy what I do and I feel I am going to be a granny with a massive collection one day. I wanted to be productive so I figured I'd start a thread with the "basics" so let me start off with a little basic info. You'll probably read this....Or similar threads to this elsewhere on the site (which is great because research is the best thing you can offer your pet!!) There is no report of any one person dying from a tarantula bite. Tarantula venom is milder than a bee sting (well, there are some species (poecilotheria) that have more potent venom than other tarantula species but there still are no known reports of death even from them). Tarantulas do bite. There are some species that are docile (less likely to do so out of aggression) but ANY tarantula can bite. It has fangs; it can bite. It does not mean that they will or that every species is "prone" to biting. New world species of tarantulas have urticating hair. This is used as a defense mechanism. The hair they kick off can get into your skin and may cause you to itch. Not all new world tarantulas will kick this hair- they just have the ability to do so. Make sure you wear protective eyewear and gloves to minimize any reaction you may have from the hair. Old world species do not have this hair, so they are more likely to bite. Another thing: tarantulas are NOT poisonous. They are venomous. For those that do not know, there is a difference. Poison is secreted and absorbed through skin/oral contact. Venom has to be "injected" by something. Example: Poison dart frog. Touch it and your skin is going to absorb the poison from the frog. Scorpion: if it stings you, it has injected it's venom into you by piercing your skin. I'm not saying this to scare anyone away from collecting any animal. I'm only trying to educate. In order for your tarantula to grow it has to molt (a similar process to a snake shedding it's skin). The tarantula will be plump in the abdomen. It will refuse food for weeks before doing this so don't worry about your tarantula not eating. You will need to have adequate water available for the tarantula and you will need to keep the humidity up at this time to avoid the issues of having a tarantula get stuck in its molt. You can do this by misting 2-3x a week until it molts. Once it molts, you may go back to it's usual care. It will make a bed of web or a hammock (depending on species) to lie on. It will flip over on its dorsal side (the top side) or other wise known as "flipping on its back" (tarantulas don't have "backs") and it will lie very still. You will see little to no movement during this process. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT DISTURB THE TARANTULA OR THE CAGE during this process!! It could stress the tarantula out and cause issues with molting that could potentially lead to the death of the tarantula. It's not dead. It will complete it's process in a few hours....Some take a day or so. When it's done, you will see an old skin "exoskeleton" in the cage with your tarantula (if they haven't decided to eat it afterward- which, they do for extra hydration and nourishment from the stressful molting process- they lose a lot of fluid when molting). Your tarantula will look "new". Some may even change color/pattern afterwards. Wait at least 7 days post molt before offering it food again. Make sure you have a water dish in your tarantulas cage at all times. Do not use a wet sponge. It holds bacteria that can lead to mold and other things that could cause health issues with your tarantula. A water dish with a few small pebbles inside (to prevent tarantula from drowning if it is small) will be sufficient. For tarantulas that are slings (babies), do not use any water resevoir. Just mist the side of the cage 2-3x a week so that they may drink. Do not spray the tarantula. For juvies, it is best to use a small juice lid or lid off of a 20 oz soda. For adults, use a water dish with water. No pebbles are needed. You can find them at pet stores, Walmart, etc....Or you can cut the bottom of a plastic cup out (about a half inch high from the base). Be sure to thoroughly clean your tarantulas water dish. Do not use chemicals to clean with. Hot water and some mild soap will do. Your tarantulas substrate will need to be changed once every 6 months. Between that time period, any bolus left will need to be clean (these are the little balls of cricket/roach leftovers that the tarantula leaves in the water dish or on the substrate. For arboreals species (tree dwelling tarantulas): they need more "height" space than floor space. You will need a tall terrarium with little floor space. For terrestrial species: they need more floor space than height. This also works for burrowers but make sure you have enough substrate depth for them to burrow in. Do not house slings in adult enclosures. You wouldn't house a 9" T stirmi in a 32oz deli cup would you? (For the sake of the tarantula I'd hope everyone answered no to that one). They will not be able to hunt very well. Some tarantulas may enjoy a hide...Some may not use them at all. It's always nice to have a little home for them, though. Tarantulas do better in "cooler" temps than warmer temps. Meaning, you can keep your tarantula at room temperature. You don't need a heat pad. You don't need a heat lamp. These things will "cook" your tarantula slowly. Just avoid them. Temps averaging between 72-80°f is just fine. Some species do better in cooler temps (Megaphoebema) around 55-60°f. DO NOT CROSS BREED TARANTULAS. DON'T EVEN ASK WHY. THERE'S NO REASON TO BE CURIOUS ABOUT IT. IT'S JUST WRONG AND IT MESSES WITH NATURE AT IT'S PUREST! This is just a little information to offer for those of you that would like to own a tarantula. Of course, it's highly recommended to research any species of tarantula you want to obtain. Please RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. It will help you and your new pet in the long run.
 

ediblepain

Arachnosquire
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Dec 24, 2016
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100
Small Ts are Not going to drown in a water dish. Substrate does Not need to be changed every 6 months, unless you have ongoing mold issues or something. Other than that, it's good basic info.
 

nicodimus22

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DO NOT CROSS BREED TARANTULAS. DON'T EVEN ASK WHY.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with this point. I always ask why. I like to know the reasoning behind everything. That's how you make informed decisions.

The reason why in this case is the same reason you don't cross breed a wolf and a fox...or a chimp and an ape...or a bullfrog and a spring peeper. They're different species. Not different breeds, such as beagles and poodles (which are all canis lupis familiaris) but different species. Just because they have enough compatibility to create offspring doesn't mean it's a good idea. What happens in this hobby is that the hybrid offspring get passed along to unsuspecting keepers/breeders as 100% one of the parent species, when they are really 50/50. If this happens multiple times, well, I'm sure you can imagine what happens...the species as we knew it doesn't exist any more after it's been mixed up and diluted enough. We don't want to see that happen. It's just a matter of preserving all the species that we know as they currently are.
 
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Casey K

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Nov 12, 2013
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Sorry, but I have to disagree with this point. I always ask why. I like to know the reasoning behind everything. That's how you make informed decisions.

The reason why in this case is the same reason you don't cross breed a wolf and a fox...or a chimp and an ape...or a bullfrog and a spring peeper. They're different species. Not different breeds, such as beagles and poodles (which are all canis lupis familiaris) but different species. Just because they have enough compatibility to create offspring doesn't mean it's a good idea. What happens in this hobby is that the hybrid offspring get passed along to unsuspecting keepers/breeders as 100% one of the parent species, when they are really 50/50. If this happens multiple times, well, I'm sure you can imagine what happens...the species as we knew it doesn't exist any more after it's been mixed up and diluted enough. We don't want to see that happen. It's just a matter of preserving all the species that we know as they currently are.

Well, I suppose asking why is ok....But I pretty much explained enough of "why not to do it" in my post.....Point taken, though. :)
 

Casey K

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Nov 12, 2013
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Small Ts are Not going to drown in a water dish. Substrate does Not need to be changed every 6 months, unless you have ongoing mold issues or something. Other than that, it's good basic info.
Slings??? Oh wait....Juvies.....Yeah, pebbles aren't "necessary"....Just a precautionary measure. Oh and I change my substrate every 6 months just because of fecal matter. I don't use isopods or a cleanup crew. :)
 
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EulersK

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Feb 22, 2013
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My God, please use line breaks o_O That's next to unreadable.

But I have to disagree with several points. Slings don't drown, pebbles are unneeded and harbor bacteria, substrate never needs to be changed unless there is an infestation of some kind, there's no proof that humidity has to do with tarantulas getting stuck in an exuvia, the bit about tarantula venom makes it seem like pokies are the only ones with bad venom, not all NW's have urticating setae, and as @nicodimus22 brought up, encouraging people to not ask questions is not appropriate.

I'm all for bringing up basic information, but there's a line where it becomes so basic that it's simply wrong.
 

Casey K

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Nov 12, 2013
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247
Really, sweets? :)
Well, yes. Some people use isopods (cleanup crew) to get rid of things like that. I don't use isopods. I don't want my tarantulas living in their poo so I change their substrate out once every six months. Avics are bad, lol....They poo everywhere.....In places you shouldn't poo, lol....Like on their "windows".....Lmao. Seriously though, I feel it better for my T to have a clean environment and since I don't use isopods I accommodate them in other ways. :)
 

Nightstalker47

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Well, yes. Some people use isopods (cleanup crew) to get rid of things like that. I don't use isopods. I don't want my tarantulas living in their poo so I change their substrate out once every six months.

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If you spot clean regularly this can be extended. The worst is when they poop along the walls of their enclosures, I hate leaving that in there. But yeah ditch the pebbles from your water dish and try not to state things as fact if you aren't all but certain they are. Some of the info is incorrect
 

Hellblazer

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May 13, 2016
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I only ever change substrate during a rehouse. I don't use isopods either. I do wipe down avic walls occasionally and clean up uneaten food though.
 

viper69

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Dec 8, 2006
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There's some decent info in this one GIANT paragraph.

For someone that has had Ts for 11 years there's some shockingly erroneous information in the giant paragraph that you should know. I'd be embarrassed.


They don't have hair, only mammals do. That is basic biology.

There is absolutely no scientific proof that increased humidity aids in molting- none. This is BASIC tarantula biology/husbandry.
This is a carry over from the reptile hobby.

Slings should have a water bowl, esp those that are less than 2" long.


Slings are the most susceptible to dying due to dehydration, anyone with any relevant level of experience would know this.


Tarantulas do not eat their exoskeleton at all, not for any reason. What a crazy idea that was....:wideyed::wideyed::wideyed::wideyed::wideyed:
 
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Chris LXXIX

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Well, yes. Some people use isopods (cleanup crew) to get rid of things like that. I don't use isopods. I don't want my tarantulas living in their poo so I change their substrate out once every six months. Avics are bad, lol....They poo everywhere.....In places you shouldn't poo, lol....Like on their "windows".....Lmao. Seriously though, I feel it better for my T to have a clean environment and since I don't use isopods I accommodate them in other ways. :)
Yup I know :kiss: personally I've never used a 'cleaning crew' for my T's so far in all of those years but the reason I asked you that was this one in particular: don't you think that would be stressful for obligate burrowers to being moved 2 times a year, my friend? :-s
 

Chris LXXIX

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I bet the Swiss do, things are pretty clean/tidy over the mountains! :cool:
Uhm there's not that much of a difference between here in Lombardy and those banking/chocolate/clocks neighbours :-s
 

Kendricks

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Jan 18, 2017
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don't you think that would be stressful for obligate burrowers to being moved 2 times a year, my friend? :-s
Exactly what I thought!

Don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but criticism should be allowed, so I'd like to share my thoughts...

Sharing information, or "educating" others can be noble and helpful.
However, it can also backfire badly when one bases their knowledge on hearsay instead of actual facts, proven by science.

Some of the things said in that uncomfortable wall of text are either flat out wrong, or at the very least complete guesstimation - nothing that can be considered helpful, or might even cause more harm than good - in my opinion as a "freshman" in this hobby.

However, it's at least a good reminder that many years of experience do not equal valuable experience - therefore the whole "I'm into this since..." argument really is moot.

I'd suggest to re-arrange the OP to make it
a) actually enjoyable to read and
b) contain only proven/confirmed information - no witchcraft mythology from changing substrate 'because reasons' to raising humidity for molting.

Just my thoughts on this.
 
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viper69

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Uhm there's not that much of a difference between here in Lombardy and those banking/chocolate/clocks neighbours :-s
There was a lot different. The trains were nice and cleaner, QUIET too, not the case in Italia I'm sorry to say. The train I was on needed probably about 80 liters of oil to lube the wheels to keep it quiet! But in Swissville, ah, they were as quiet as a monastery.

It was a lot cleaner in Switzerland than in Milano, Venezia or Roma. ;)
 

Kendricks

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Jan 18, 2017
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There was a lot different. The trains were nice and cleaner, QUIET too, not the case in Italia I'm sorry to say. It was a lot cleaner in Switzerland than in Milano, Venezia or Roma. ;)
Been to both countries, can confirm.
Sorry my Italian stallion! ;)
 
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